web analytics
August 23, 2014 / 27 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » Judaism » Parsha »

God at the Core


Rabbi Avi Weiss

Rabbi Avi Weiss
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Why is the construction of the Mishkan juxtaposed with Shabbat in the beginning of this week’s portion?

When God created the world he unleashed His unlimited power to create all forms of existence – inanimate, vegetable, animal and human.

God, however, purposefully performed His task in an incomplete manner. The last word of the creation story is la’asot, to do (Genesis 2:3). Here, God asks that we complete creation and in partnership with Him redeem the world.

Perhaps the greatest manifestation of human creativity in the Torah is the building of the Mishkan, which required human mastery over every creation. For example: gold was required to construct the Ark; vegetables were used for the dye needed to color parts of the Tabernacle; animal skin was used to cover the Tabernacle – and, of course, human interaction was essential to coordinate a building venture of this magnitude.

Nechama Leibowitz points out that the same words describing God’s completion of creation (va‑yechal, vayar, ve‑hinei, va‑yevarech, Genesis 1:31, 2:2‑3) are also used to describe the completion of the Mishkan (va‑yechal, vayar, ve‑hinei, va‑yevarech, Exodus 39:43, 40:33).

In the course of becoming so successful, however, human beings are in danger of forgetting that God is the source of our creativity. Hence the laws of Shabbat would have us refrain from activities that indicate our mastery over the world. In this way, we assert the centrality of God.

The first eleven of the 39 categories of prohibited work on Shabbat deal with the vegetable world (leading up to the baking prohibition). The next twenty-three deal with animal life (leading up to sewing and writing). And the next four deal with the inanimate (building). In withdrawing from each of these endeavors we acknowledge God as the Supreme Master over nature. The final category, the prohibition against carrying, leads to the understanding that even in the social sphere (carrying is a symbol of human interaction), God is in ultimate control. (See Mishnah Shabbat 7:2)

Thus the juxtaposition of Shabbat to Mishkan – to teach that even the Mishkan could not be built on the Sabbath. A reminder that God is at the core of all existence.

About the Author: Rabbi Avi Weiss is founder and president of Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and senior rabbi of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “God at the Core”

  1. I use to marvel at our imaginations, not seeing how most of what we create isn't all that new. It is amazing how much of what we invent is inspired by the natural world. It's also a bit odd to think that we can obtain patents (ownership) for concepts and things that have existed longer than us.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
4 yr old Israeli Daniel Tregerman, murdered by Hamas rocket on Aug. 22, 2014.
IDF: Israeli Toddler Murdered by Rocket Fired Near UNRWA School/Shelter
Latest Judaism Stories
Parsha-Perspectives-logo

Eisenhower understood that motivated men will fight much harder and longer than unmotivated men.

PTI-082214

Who does not want to get close to Hashem? Yet, how do we do that?

Weiss-082214-Beloved

Hashem recalls everything – nothing is hidden from His eyes.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

According to Rabbi Yishmael one was not permitted to eat such an animal prior to entering Eretz Yisrael, while according to Rabbi Akiva one was permitted to eat animals if he would perform nechirah.

An interview was overheard in which an Arab asked a Hamas commander: “What’s the problem? Why aren’t you hitting your targets? Don’t you know how to aim?” To which he was answered: “We know how to aim very well. We are experts. But their G-d moves the missiles.”

Discretion
‘Vendors Of Fruits And Clothing…May Sell In Private’
(Mo’ed Katan 13b)

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

If a man sins and follows his inclinations, he will find comfort in this world – but when he dies, he will go to a place that is all thorns.

Nothing is more effective to diminish envy than gratitude.

The first prayer of Moshe was Vayechal, where Moshe’s petition was that no matter how bad bnei Yisrael were, the Egyptians were worse.

“We’re leining now, and shouldn’t be talking,” Mr. Silver gently quieted his son. “At the Shabbos table we can discuss it at length.”

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

Culture is not nature. There are causes in nature, but only in culture are there meanings.

Rabbinic law is pivotal but it’s important to understand which laws are rabbinic and which biblical.

We give slave gifts? If he wants to stay, we pierce his ear?!

More Articles from Rabbi Avi Weiss
Rabbi Avi Weiss

Rabbinic law is pivotal but it’s important to understand which laws are rabbinic and which biblical.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

Israel is the only place where we have the potential to fulfill our mandate as the chosen people.

Rav Kook of blessed memory, who said that no matter where a Jew is born, he is born in Israel.

One must act as if everything depends on us and pray as if everything depends on God.

When taking any major step in life it is a good idea to carefully re-evaluate one’s past.

Important message for Jews in the Diaspora: In times of need run to Israel rather than from Israel.

With a loud and strong voice we must say “no” to individuals who take the law into their own hands.

An opinion recorded in the Talmud states that prayers correspond to the daily sacrifices offered in the Temple that are mentioned in this week’s portion (Berachot 26b, Numbers 28:4). It’s been argued that this opinion may be the conceptual base for our standardized prayer. Since sacrifices had detailed structure, our prayers also have a set text. […]

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/god-at-the-core/2014/02/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: